Military Embedded Systems

Microwave power beam demo shows feasibility of technology


April 22, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Navy Research Laboratory photo.

WASHINGTON. A team of researchers from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) recently demonstrated the feasibility of terrestrial microwave power beaming by transmitting 1.6 kW of power over 1 km (0.62 miles).  

The project -- dubbed Safe and COntinuous Power bEaming – Microwave (SCOPE-M) -- aimed to demonstrate microwave power beaming, or the efficient, point-to-point transfer of electrical energy across free space by a directive microwave beam.

According to the NRL announcement of the successful demonstration, the team exceeded its target by 60% percent by beaming 1.6 kW just over 1 km. 

Paul Jaffe Ph.D., Power Beaming and Space Solar Lead, said that the demos pave the way for power beaming on Earth, in space, and from space to Earth using power densities within safety limits set by international standards bodies.

Brian Tierney, Ph.D., SCOPE-M electronics engineer, said the Department of Defense (DoD) is interested in wireless power beaming, particularly wireless power beaming from space, and that a similar rectenna (rectifying antenna) array as used for SCOPE-M could be used in space. The main benefit, Tierney said, would be to mitigate the reliance on troops' fuel supplies, which can be vulnerable to attack. 


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